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Evaluating Sources

Doing Annotations the Otis Way
All of the examples annodations below list the separate criteria in brackets.

Always check with your faculty on whether to format your annotation with these brackets, or as a paragraph.

Scholarly / Academic Source

Zemel, Carol. “Sorrowing Women, Rescuing Men: Van Gogh’s Images of Women and Family.” Art History, vol. 10, no. 3, Sept. 1987, pp. 351-368. Art & Architecture Source,

[Author Credentials] Carol Zemel is an art historian with a PhD from Columbia University. She has authored many books and articles in art journals. She was a Professor in the Department of Visual Art & Art History at New York University.

[Audience / Type of Information] Art History is a peer-reviewed journal. The audience for it is art historians and probably undergraduate majors in art history. The article is an in-depth discussion (24 pages) on the topic. It contains only black and white illustrations. Otherwise, the text is mostly text-based with lots of footnotes and a bibliography.

[Purpose / Bias / Point of View] The author has a feminist focus, and she uses historical information to demonstrate that VG's paintings of women reflected society views on female sexuality and prostitution. She argues that he viewed prostitutes as fallen women who could be saved through a proper domestic life.  The author questions the 19th century male assumption of what all women inherently wanted.

[Currency of the Source] This article was published in 1987, which was after the feminist theory had been well developed so that perspective is included. There were a couple of other articles about Van Gogh and women that I can also use as a comparison.

[Coverage / Scope / Content] The author thoroughly covers this content, although the subject is quite narrow in scope.

[Relevance to Paper] This article discusses the images of women and family in the paintings Vincent van Gogh. I was interested in Van Gogh’s views about women and there was a substantial number of examples and theories of Van Gogh’s view about women that I can use in my paper.

Trade / Professional Source

Stasukevich, lain. "Reclaiming Art." American Cinematographer, vol. 96, no. 1, Jan. 2015, pp. 30-36. Art & Architecture Source.

[Author Credentials] Stasukevich is a staff writer for American Cinematographer. I could find no other information on him anywhere except in IMDB, it says he is a camera person and he has one TV credit.

[Audience / Type of Information] American Cinematographer is a trade magazine published in Hollywood. I can tell because it is filled with ads for cameras and movies. The information in the articles is fairly technical providing information on camera settings, lighting, and lenses.

[Purpose / Bias / Point of View] The article interviews Bruno Delbonnel, cinematographer for Burton, asking him questions about his vision for the movie Big Eyes. The purpose is to share Delbonnel’s approach to visual effects and photography with other filmmakers.

[Currency of the Source] This article was published at about the same time Big Eyes was released.

[Coverage / Scope / Content] There are lots of pictures and lots of questions. When asked about the aesthetics of the film, Delbonnel comments on his goal of achieving a hyperrealistic or surreal effect and goes on to discuss his preferred diffusion levels. Other topics covered include lighting techniques, his collaboration with Burton, and digital cinematography.

[Relevance to Paper] Because I am a digital major, I found this information very relevant to me. It gave me information about why and how Burton and his cinematographer collaborate to make an interesting movie. Collaboration is one of the points I plan to discuss in my paper.

Substantial News

Cashdan, Marina. “Tim Burton: Hailing Filmdom’s Oddest Artist.” Modern Painters, vol. 21, no. 8, Nov. 2009, pp. 48–57. Art & Architecture Source,,shib&db=asu&AN=505267791&site=ehost-live&scope=site.

[Author Credentials] Marina Cashdan attended Columbia University. She is writer and editor whose work regularly appears in the New York Times, Huffington Post, Style Magazine, Frieze, Art in America, among other arts magazines. She was formerly the executive editor at Modern Painters. She is currently the editorial director of Artsy.

[Audience / Type of Information] Modern Painters is very glossy arts magazine, filled with photos and advertising. The audience for this is definitely artists, but also the general educated public with an interest in the arts. Tim Burton has mass appeal, so this could also be classified at General Interest/Substantial News.
[Purpose / Bias / Point of View] I think the point of view is promotional. Essentially, the publication promotes activities of the art world, especially New York. This article promoted Tim Burton who was having an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art. She is basically arguing that Burton is an artist as well as a filmmaker.

[Currency of the Source] This article was published in 2009, but that is not too old to be relevant.

[Coverage / Scope / Content] It's a fairly lengthy article that covers Burton's painting practice thoroughly.

[Relevance to Paper] This article is perfect for my paper because she interviewed Burton and includes quotes to show how he perceives himself. There are also many images of his work, most of which are not seen in the books I’ve found.

TechInsider. “Mickey Mouse And Copyright Law.” YouTube, 3 Oct. 2015,

[Author credentials] TechInsider is part of Business Insider, a business news site. The video has no credits, not even for the narrator.

[Audience/Type of Information] Short news video that appeals to the general public.

[Bias / Point of View] It is decidedly anti-Disney and negative towards other big media companies. It favors shorter copyright terms and the public domain. It is a passive aggressive call to arms.

[Content / Coverage / Scope] It focuses on one character owned by one company, and how that has affected the length of copyright terms in the United States.

[Currency of the Source] This video was created in 2015 to alert viewers about possible major changes in copyright law. It was wrong; Disney and other big media did not pursue another copyright term extension.

[Relevance to Paper] I wanted a video that had a negative point of view. It succinctly covered major changes in US copyright law over the last 100 years.

Popular Source

Wallace, Amy and Tim Burton. "Tim Burton I." Los Angeles Magazine, vol. 56, no. 5, May 2011, pp. 38-40. OmniFile Full Text Select (H.W. Wilson).

[Author Credentials] Amy Wallace is an award-winning journalist whose work has appeared many well-known popular magazines including GQ, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Esquire, and Elle. She spent four years as a Senior Writer at Los Angeles Magazine and is now Editor-at-Large. 

[Audience / Type of Information] Los Angeles Magazine is a large-circulation popular magazine. Tim Burton has mass appeal, so this could be classified at General Interest/Substantial News.

[Purpose / Bias / Point of View] I think the point of view is promotional. Essentially, the publication promotes people or activities associated with Los Angeles. In this case, Burton was having an exhibition at LACMA.

[Currency of the Source] This article came out when the exhibition was running.

[Coverage / Scope / Content] This is a short but Burton does discusses various aspects of his relationship to Los Angeles including his childhood in Burbank, his time in CalArts' Disney animation program, and the exhibition of his work at LACMA.

[Relevance to Paper]  This article is very short, but Burton does discuss his involvement with Los Angeles, his education at CalArts and his exhibition at LACMA. It gave me some basic facts, but not much more.

U.S. Copyright Office. “What Is Copyright?” YouTube, 30 Oct. 2019,

[Author credentials] The US Copyright Office is the federal department in charge of copyright.

[Audience/Type of Information] The audience is the American general public, especially people who create content that is copyrightable. Since it is a promotional video, it skews more towards Popular than News.

[Bias / Point of View] Although it takes a neutral tone, the US Copyright Office is promoting itself and its services. It strongly encourages people to register their copyrights even though it is no longer required.

[Content / Coverage / Scope] Brief introduction to copyright law in the United States.

[Currency of the Source] This video is very current, as it was published in 2019, and no new major copyright legislation has been passed.

[Relevance to Paper] I liked how it differentiated between copyright, trademarks, and patents. I wanted to see how a government entity tried to appeal to the masses.

Wikimedia Foundation. “What Is Creative Commons?” YouTube, 7 Feb. 2017,

[Author credentials] The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit that runs Wikipedia and other sites. Victor Grigas is a photographer and video producer who works for the Foundation.

[Audience/Type of Information] It is an advertisement meant to appeal to tech-savvy creators in the general public.

[Bias / Point of View] It is heavily biased against copyright laws. It promotes using Creative Commons licenses as a way to empower creators. In fact, it is used as a promotional resource on

[Content / Coverage / Scope] Introduction to Creative Commons licenses by illustrating its principles. It does not go into any detail about the actual licenses.

[Currency of the Source] The information is still current, though its video style and music may be a little out-of-date now.

[Relevance to Paper] CC licenses can be intimidating. I liked how it presented the concepts in a non-threatening manner, including attributions in the end credits (where I found Victor Grigas).

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